Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

‘The Waste Land – A Biography of a Poem’

I’ve greatly enjoyed reading Matthew Hollis’s The Waste Land: A Biography of a Poem, even though it tells a story that has been told before – most notably in Robert Crawford’s very good biography, Young Eliot, which I read not so long ago. Well, good stories stand re-telling. What I appreciated most about Hollis’s book […]

‘Utterly Immoral’ – Robert Keable and ‘Simon called Peter’

Simon Keable-Elliott is the grandson of the novelist Robert Keable, and is understandably interested in his grandfather’s life and work – and especially in Simon called Peter, the book that caused outrage in Britain when published in 1921. It is the story of an Anglican clergyman who goes to war as a chaplain, but starts […]

The poetry of George Willis

Having become interested in the war poems of George Willis, I have now acquired a copy of his Any Soldier to his Son. I have also taken a look at his The Philosophy of Speech at the Internet Archive. The poetry book is a small but nicely made volume (publisher George Allen and Unwin), with […]

‘New Army Education’

I learned to wash in shell-holes, and to shave myself in tea,While the fragments of a mirror did a balance on my knee.I learned to dodge the whizz-bangs and the flying lumps of lead,And to keep a foot of earth between the snipers and my head.I learned to keep my haversack well-filled with buckshee food,To […]

The Good, The Bad and The Extraordinary

The Sheffield Hallam University Popular Fiction Reading Group (1900-1950) has now reached its tenth birthday, and celebrations are planned. There will be an event at the University on July 19th (of which more later), and there will be a publication. The Good, the Bad and the Extraordinary is a collection of reviews by members of […]

Twenties Novelists consider War Poets

I’ve just put online a paper I wrote a few years ago. It’s called ‘I too am a Murderer’: Representations of War Poets in Fictions of the 1920s. You can find it by clicking here. I first wrote it for the excellent Oxford centenary conference in 2014, where it was received quite well. I went […]

1914/2022

I’m watching ITV News, and the word Przemyśl jumps out at me from the bottom of the screen. It is one of the places where Ukranian refugees are being welcomed to Poland. But the name strikes memories, of course. This is not the first time it has been in the news. In the autumn of […]

Geoffrey Hill on Owen, Rosenberg and ‘Pity’

This post is a recommendation to take a look at the lectures that the late Geoffrey Hill gave when Professor of Poetry at Oxford between 2010 and 2015.You can find them at: https://www.english.ox.ac.uk/professor-sir-geoffrey-hill-lectures I don’t know how long they’ve been online, and this is probably old news to many people, but I’ve only just discovered […]

Woolf, ‘Sapper’, Edgar Wallace

Sometimes the census just tells you what you already knew. Here is the return submitted by Leonard and Virginia Woolf, from an address oddly transcribed as ‘Rodmell, Lewes, Southease & Rodmell, Sussex, England’: Living with the couple are Nellie and Lettie, brought to life so vividly in Alison Light’s book Mrs Woolf and the Servants.

Bourne

I loked for Frederic Manning in the 1921 census, and found him at Edenham, near Bourne in Lincolnshire: He was lodging with the family of Joseph Kirby, a farm labourer, and probably starting to write Her Privates We. He named the hero of the novel Bourne, the same as the village. He must have liked […]